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YouTube thumbnail image from Chicken Fried Rice video
This recipe is a great way for caregivers to enjoy holiday leftovers and introduce their children to food in a different way.
December 29, 2021

Chicken Fried Rice – using leftovers for a delicious meal

The winter festive and holiday period is a great time to enjoy food with family and friends. This recipe, developed between the McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Children’s Exercise (CENC) and Nutrition Centre and Meant2Prevent – a youth type 2 diabetes prevention initiative – is designed to help families enjoy holiday leftovers and introduce food in a different way to their children.

Over the holidays, using leftovers to cook something new and relatively easy such as chicken fried rice, is a great way to take off stress from meal planning. It also allows for more family time and is a great opportunity for no-pressure food exposure.

A common veggie conundrum

Dr. Sheri Nsamenang

Dr. Sheri Nsamenang

Selective eating or avoidance of non-preferred food is common among children and adults. “I would encourage caregivers to look at eating as a behaviour that is learned or can be learned patiently,” says Sheri Nsamenang, child psychologist at the CENC. “The process of learning will vary among kids, depending on things such as sensory issues, anxious distress, and/or mood. Food exposure is essential to learning to tolerate food that is not yet preferred.”

Making meal times fun

“Some additional things to consider with supporting your child are caregiver patience, scheduling meals and snacks, and making eating times fun,” says Nsamenang. “You could talk about the day or play a table game such as ‘would you rather be…’”

Presenting food in different ways, such as raw or cooked, or cut into different shapes can also help your child become accustomed to enjoying new foods in different ways.

Below is the video and recipe for Chicken Fried Rice.


Chicken Fried Rice (makes 7 cups)


  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil or sesame oil
  • 2 chicken breasts cut in ¼ to ½ inch pieces (bite-size)
  • 2 cups frozen peas and carrots or frozen veggie blend
  • 4 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 cups cooked brown rice
  • 3 cups cauliflower rice or riced cauliflower
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce or gluten-free Tamari
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil to serve
  • sesame seeds (optional for garnish)


  1. In a large frying pan over medium heat, add the sesame oil and chicken pieces. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally to get colour on all sides, and cook through. Internal temperature of cooked chicken should be 165°F (74°C) when checked with an instant-read thermometer. Set chicken aside in a bowl.
  2. In the same frying pan, add the frozen veggies and cook for about 2 minutes or until they begin to soften.
  3. Add the garlic and stir to combine. Add in the cooked rice and riced cauliflower. Push the mixture to one side of the pan and scramble the eggs. Once cooked, mix into the rest of the rice. Add chicken, and drizzle with soy sauce to taste. Add the extra 1 teaspoon sesame oil to serve and sprinkle with sesame seeds.